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Cinnamon Benefits: 10 Reasons Why This Sweet Spice Is So Healthy

03/13/2014 02:56 EDT | Updated 03/13/2014 04:59 EDT
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Every time you sprinkle cinnamon on your coffee, you're doing your body a healthy favour.

The spice, which is found in virtually every coffee shop and in the ingredients list of many, many baked goods, has been used for centuries by natural health practitioners for a massive variety of ailments.

With anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties, cinnamon, which occurs naturally in a bark form, has been shown to be immensely useful for everything from type 2 diabetes to sore throats.

Combining cinnamon and honey is another way natural health lovers suggest using the spice. Considering honey's antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it would make sense that putting the two together could result in double the benefits, though no scientific studies have confirmed this.

As WebMD notes, because cinnamon is not a scientifically backed treatment, there is no specific dosage, though the site does suggest 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per day.

Just make sure that if you're planning on using cinnamon a lot, you're getting is the good stuff. As family physician Dr. Fuhrman notes on his website, you want to buy Ceylon cinnamon as opposed to Cassia cinnamon, which is the kind most commonly found in grocery stores. Cassia has a high coumarin content, and though it's a naturally occurring chemical, it can cause liver damage when taken in high doses.

Check out these 10 things cinnamon can help with:

Cinnamon's Benefits

Stimulate The Brain

Eating cinnamon increases the level of sodium benzoate in the brain, according to Dr. Gary Wenk, writing in Psychology Today. That, in turn, can help heal and create neurons, potentially staving off neurological disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Food Preservative

As reported by NaturalHealth365, the International Journal of Food Microbiology found that a few drops of cinnamon oil in carrot broth inhibited common bacteria from forming. While we're not saying to sprinkle it on foods that have gone bad, this could give an alternative to shelf life-enhancing chemicals in processed foods.

Menstrual Cramps

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is used by some for relief from menstrual cramps. The Organic Whey suggests putting a few drops of cinnamon oil on a warm compress (which can help in and of itself) to ease the pain.

Sore Throats

According to Livestrong.com, cinnamon's antibacterial properties can help relieve sore throats. EverydayRoots.com, a natural healing site, recommends mixing 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks, 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and the herbal or green tea of your choice to alleviate scratchiness. Add the cinnamon to the boiled water, leave in for two to three minutes, remove and then add in the tea.

Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes

There are conflicting reports on whether or not cinnamon is the miracle cure that can help those with diabetes, but 1/2 teaspoon of the spice has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in a significant way — nothing to shrug off without further investigation.

Get Rid Of Pimples

This isn't something the dermatologist is necessarily going to tell you, but online skin experts swear by cinnamon's skin healing properties. Indian Makeup and Beauty Blog puts together a cinnamon and honey mask for breakouts, relying on cinnamon's antioxidants (which bring blood to the skin) and honey's anti-microbial properties (to get rid of bacteria) for help.

Stomach Help

According to Eating Well, cinnamon was used by ancient Greeks and Romans to both increase appetite and relieve indigestion, likely thanks to its anti-inflammatory and aromatic properties. Putting a dash of cinnamon on your food certainly sounds like a way to make it tastier, thanks to its aroma.

Relieve Bladder And Yeast Infections

Beloved by natural practitioners, there has been some slight evidence to link cinnamon bark with helping to heal both bladder and yeast infections, thanks to the spice's antifungal properties. While many extol the virtues, no conclusive scientific evidence has yet been found.

Fight Fatigue

Thanks to the same properties that allow cinnamon to help with diabetes, the spice also works against fatigue by moderating blood sugar levels and keeping you from crashing.

Prevent Heart Disease

It's not just diabetes cinnamon could help to prevent. In the same study often touted by believers, it was found that cinnamon could help with circulation and oxidation of the blood for those who were obese. Considering obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, adding cinnamon to the diet could be a step in the right direction.